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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Former judge Nancy Gertner speaks to UMass Boston Honors Program students

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Nancy Gertner and Honors Program students

On Sept. 26, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum hosted a dinner and discussion with former civil rights lawyer and federal judge Nancy Gertner. Invited to the event were Honors Program students and select faculty members from the University of Massachusetts Boston.
Gertner, now a Harvard Law professor, spoke directly to Honors Program students and faculty about her life story and her pursuits in the legal field.
After the students toured the library and had dinner alongside Gertner, Gertner stood up and began her speech about what it takes to become successful in law.
“I picked what was engaging and wonderful to me. What I loved to do,” said Gertner. “I had always wanted to become an academic, but after trying my first large legal case defending Susan Saxe, a feminist anti-wartime activist, I was hooked!”
“I wound up at the forefront of the civil rights cases ranging from feminism, anti-war movements, and gay rights issues. They were, I believe, the moral anchors of our time,” said Gertner.
Gertner went on to explain other elements of her legal career such as her clerkship, becoming a partner in a small firm, and teaching a few courses at law schools. Students and faculty were then given time to ask questions.
One student, Kathleen Elliott, said, “It was wonderful hearing her speak! I’m thinking of possibly pursuing a career in the legal field so hearing insights from Gertner was astonishing.”
Another student, UMass Boston Student Trustee Nolan O’Brien, commented, “She had such a fascinating life.”
Gertner finished the event by fielding questions about her book, “In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate.” She also mentioned that another book about her experiences as a judge is in the works.